Crazy Web Claims, plus furious Senate battle, embarass Bush
While W. Patrick Lang said a few days ago that (probably) Bush '41 did not have foreknowledge of the appointment of Gates, I imagine that sooner or later he will have some insight into whether '43 has been given instructions that will be listened to. W. Patrick Lang is absolutely correct in his analysis of Bush speak on military strategy:
If body language and long faces are indications, this was not all that great a meeting. Mr. Bush is reported to have told the ISGers that they have to remember that military strategy has to be formed based on actual conditions on the ground.
So true! But... Military strategy is constrained not only by "conditions on the ground," but also by policy guidance from the national command authority. In other words, military commanders try to adapt the methodology of what they are doing in order to carry out national policy. They do not have the luxury of re-defining the mission. They do not have the luxury of re-defining the mission. In other words every single person in the armed forces has the job of carrying out George Bush's policy. They do not have the job of telling him why he should have a different policy.
That is why it is useless for the media to interview generals (or anyone else on active duty in the military) about "what should be done in Iraq." Soldiers asked to answer that question have no choice but to tell the interviewer (and the audience) what they think is necessary to carry out the national policy guidance that they have been given. They are not at liberty to suggest a new policy.[Sic Semper Tyrannis]
Last night on CSPAN, I saw the Middle East Institute Forum talk which included Qubad Talabany, Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the U.S. (starts in that clip at 1:42:40), and he made a great case for not abandoning Iraqi Kurdistan. As there are now calls from every corner for a Middle East peace conference, and calls to negotiate with Syria and Iran (let's add Turkey, now, too please), let's settle the Kurdish problem, and create an independent Kurdish state. This is as important to Turkey's membership to the E.U. and the resolution of internal conflict in Turkey, as it is to Kurdistan being a decent place to redeploy U.S. forces to out of Baghdad, Anbar, etc. But the Kurds (in and outside of Iraq) need to renounce terror as a political tool, and I think we have seen Kurdish terror in Turkey within the time period Talabany claims Kurds were living in peace and prosperity... If this is truly a war against terror, not a war against our enemies, we need to encourage, insist, require that our allies, in Israel or Kurdistan, also abandon terror if we want Hezbollah and Hamas to do the same. And we should stop pumping weapons and training into Iaqi units that are involved in terror and genocide in Iraq...
So in the last hour or so there has been an ugly fight on the floor of the U.S. Senate about defense construction funding and drought relief, with at least one Dem (Sen. Kent Conrad D-ND) threatening to sink the Vietnam Trade Agreement which Bush hopes to be able to deliver on his upcoming visit to Vietnam and other ASEAN nations, if drought relief was not attached to the Defense Construction Appropriation. A Republican replied that he did not think that was what the recent elections were about.
Bush may end up out in the world, empty handed and unable negotiate for anything with requiring Congressional cooperation. Its kind of reminiscient of Clinton, when he was facing impeachment and a Republican majority in Congress. Or how the Republican Congress defunded the negotiated agreement with North Korea, forthem to cease nuclear weapons development in exchange for food and energy assistance. The Republicans decided it was better to try to starve North Korea into collapse.
The Bush family economic network is going to be starved, despite the last minute scramblings of the outgoing Republican majority to fund the trade deals, energy and foreign military misadventures they had planned for just before this election.
And Bush is going out in that world, embarassed not by a petty sex scandal, but after a harsh rebuke from his elders and trusted family friends, who are telling him he can't play with Cheney any more, and that "everyone hates him". There is plenty of room for the new Democratic majority and its leadership, to provide real leadership.
At this moment, foreign governments need to realize that they have to engage both Democratic and GOP parties on foreign affairs matters, especially where $$ is involved.
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